It's that time of year again for San Diego's annual Comic-Con International (Comic-Con or SDCC for short). Fanboys and fangirls from around the world will gather at the city's convention center from Thursday, July 19, to Sunday, July 22, to geek out over their favorite comics, television shows, movies, and all things pop culture. Attendees will laugh, cry, and wait in ridiculously long lines to see their favorite cultural icons speak on panels, answer audience questions, and sign autograph after autograph. Simply put: Comic-Con is the convention to end all conventions.
Although many SDCC attendees are in the know about technology (and, therefore, may be familiar with blockchain and cryptocurrencies), Comic-Con is not categorically a tech convention. It is unlikely that con-goers would learn about the latest advancements in the cryptospace at this event.
This year, however, the 2018 film "Robin Hood" (another remake of the classic story) is causing a blockchain splash in the wake of its crypto scavenger hunt announcement, titled "Crypto Power to the People." The crew is teaming up with – guess who – investment services platform Robinhood to sponsor the hunt.
Robinhood recently jumped onto the crypto bandwagon when it started offering support for bitcoin and Ether trading in February. Since then, the platform has expanded to allow users to exchange bitcoin cash, Litecoin, and even Dogecoin.
From July 19 to 21, SDCC attendees will be able to search for coins at the convention that are redeemable for various values, ranging from $50 to $5,000.
Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. is the studio behind the film and its newest marketing tactic. Danielle Parma, Lionsgate executive vice president of worldwide digital marketing, described how the hunt would be in line with the spirit of the famous outlaw story:
"We're thrilled to partner with Robinhood to utilize state-of-the-art technology as a unique way to engage Robin Hood fans. In the spirit of the legendary hero, this collaboration gives back to the community through initiatives that parallel the high-octane adventures in our Robin Hood movie."
All this effort to promote the new film raises the question: Why? People will watch (or not watch) the movie regardless of its association with crypto and, to be realistic, the percentage of viewers who actively participate in the cryptospace will likely be small in comparison to the general population.
One regular con-goer, Isabel Youngs, believes Lionsgate's crypto hunt "is a particularly brutal example of marketing psychology." To her, the marketing endeavor "is a bit hilarious" considering the socialist message of the traditional Robin Hood story coupled with the financial barriers that may prevent individuals from using cryptocurrencies. She explained:
"'Crypto Power to the People' sounds like an intentional use of activist language in order to shroud the fact that cryptocurrency and stock trading is not something that economically disenfranchised people generally take advantage of. The raw, up-front cost of attending a comic convention like SDCC doesn't scream financial insecurity. This game is another Hollywood exploitation of social progressivism to be edgy."
Although the "Robin Hood" team's crypto hunt may seem like a publicity stunt to remain relevant in the ever-growing tech space, only time will tell if Lionsgate's efforts are fruitful. Attendees may have a lot of fun searching for redeemable coins, or the whole "game," as Youngs characterizes it, could be a bust.